Think Edinburgh's roads are bad? Glasgow's potholes are like something out of Mad Max – Susan Morrison
The M8 is a funny little motorway. Quite a lot of it seems to be a dual carriageway with ideas above its station.
It’s pretty small and narrow, if you think about it. Some stretches are only two lanes, so when The Accident happens, everything stops for tea. Drivers should really pack a flask. Actually, in this regard, we could learn a thing or two from our cousins abroad.
My friend told me of a traffic jam in India which was eased by breakneck cyclists weaving around the cars selling tea, coffee and pastries. An enterprising wheeling and dealing business chap had a sort of moped mobile loo. The mechanics of the process are a little murky, and frankly, that’s the way I think they should remain, but it's a business opportunity waiting to be presented to the Dragons Den.
Harthill is particularly beloved by those who like to dig up the roads, or prang their motors. I’ve often inched past and thus been given plenty of time to admire the sign that says “The Heart of Scotland”. Of course, it’s a Scottish heart. The arteries are permanently congested.
Been a while since I drove West in daylight hours. Don’t think I’ll be doing that for a while. We got The Accident at Livingston and the road works at random points. Well, we got cones, but nary a glimpse of the chaps who modelled for the ‘man at work’ sign. And then we reached Glasgow.
Edinburgh drivers have been complaining bitterly for years about the roads beneath our wheels. Tram trenches, bizarre re-routing, and the sudden appearance of a Lothian bus heading straight for you all get the pulse racing. The roads, we scream, are diabolical. Glasgow smirks and says: “Hey. Haud ma jacket. Wait till you see this.”
Come off that motorway and you’ve entered “Mad Max: Great Western Road”. You and your car must slalom for survival. BetUrLifeAway could put odds on it. What’ll go first? The tyres, the suspension or your neck? Or will you be claimed by the waters of a sinister urban lochan, dragged down by the pot-hole Kelpies?
These potholes are so big they need naming. Seaplanes could take off from some of them. Had CalMac ferries that actually worked, they could be running a twice-daily service across one brute that lurks on the road to Bearsden.
The fear of seeing the little Vauxhall Corsa to my right vanish into a gaping water-filled maw before us distracted me. Nearly too late, I realised I was heading straight for a black glen. Everyone says don’t take evasive action, but you’re about to go over the edge. Even at my age, survival instinct kicks in.
Sharp, shallow hard a‘starboard and my left-hand wheels just missed going mid-air. A Tesco delivery van hit the white-water rapids of a series of interlocked holes just a tad too fast and accidentally deluged over me. The wipers were battering back and forward like an over-excited MP trying to catch the Speaker’s attention.
We got to Bearsden, my little motor and me. We thanked the gods of steering and braking that we were still in one piece and gave a quiet prayer for the tyres and wheels that would not survive that day. I’m seriously thinking of buying a horse.